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OptoForce Force Sensing Systems

With a number of well-established force sensing technologies currently available on the market, OptoForce offers a unique optical force sensing system that can potentially revolutionise the tactile sensing of automated equipment and haptic interaction between people and automated machinery.

OptoForce Solutions and Applications

Quadratec Ltd are the UK & Ireland technical distributors for an advanced technology range of unique optical sensing instrumentation produced by OptoForce Ltd, based in Budapest, Hungary (http://optoforce.com).

Some typical markets of potential for use of the products are as follows:

  • Research institutes
  • Universities
  • Medical industry �?rehabilitation, robotic carers
  • Design & development sectors within a wide range of industries
  • Automated product handling within a wide range of industries

Some typical applications of potential usage of the products are as follows:

  • Haptic devices / humanoid fingertips
  • Guiding and teaching of robots
  • Collaborative robot interaction
  • Collision detection �?safety features

Some additional applications of potential usage of the products, to replace historical human interaction that might not have previously been considered, are as follows:

  • Automated grinding, welding, polishing and finishing operations
  • Automated grasping of food to detect ripeness etc.

Sensitive force sensing

OptoForce Sensing Technology

In optical force sensors, photodiodes are used to measure the amount of reflected light originally emitted by an LED. By comparing the measured values on each photodiode the acting forces can be precisely reconstructed - and not just their magnitude, but also their direction.

Optoforce Sensing Technologies

Sensor Technology Comparison

Compared to strain-gauge based load cells, OptoForce sensors are generally much more robust, as the deforming surfaces are physically separated from the sensing element. This is achieved by utilizing infrared light to detect the smallest deformation in the shape of the outer surface and incorporating different kinds of optical grade elastomers to achieve the most reliable results.

OptoForce Sensor Types

Although the technology behind all OptoForce sensors is the same, the actual sensor products available are divided into four main types with the option for further customisation to suit the customers�?requirements:

  • Optoforce Sensor Types �?3 Axis Hemispherical Force Sensor 3 Axis Hemispherical Force Sensors �?Ranging from 10mm in diameter to 30mm in diameter and a nominal Z axis compression force of 10N to 600N with substantial capacity for overload of between 300% and 600% depending on the specific sensor. These sensors have an exposed rubber silicone sensing surface and are generally mounted to metal or plastic bases.

  • Optoforce Sensor Types �?3 Axis Flat Top Force Sensors 3 Axis Flat Top Force Sensors �?On these variants a single silicone sensing element is sandwiched between a pair of square or cylindrical plates. Square plates are available in 25mm square or 32mm square and cylindrical models are 46mm diameter. They have a nominal Z axis compression force between 100N and 2000N with substantial capacity for overload of 200% to 600% depending on the specific sensor.



  • Optoforce Sensor Types �?6 Axis Square Flat Top Force & Torque Sensors 6 Axis Square Flat Top Force & Torque Sensors �?Whilst this variant has slowly been replaced by cylindrical versions they are still available for suitable applications. They are made up of four individual 3 axis flat top sensors that are sandwiched between two aluminium plates which are available as 58mm square or 80mm square. They have a nominal Z axis compression force of 400N or 3200N with substantial capacity for overload of 200%.

  • Optoforce Sensor Types �?6 Axis Cylindrical Flat Top Force & Torque Sensors 6 Axis Cylindrical Flat Top Force & Torque Sensors �?This variant is made up of three individual 3 axis flat top sensors that are sandwiched between two aluminium plates which are available as 70mm diameter. They have a nominal Z axis compression force of 1000N or 2000N with substantial capacity for overload of 200%.



All the aforementioned sensors and associated options are discussed in more detail under ‘Further Sensor Data�?